Making a Multimedia Website

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factfile8.3 Usability

 

The best websites are ones that are both visually attractive and easy to use. Visitors need to be able to find what they want quickly and easily. They will not spend a long time trying to work out how to get around your site: if it is not obvious, they will go elsewhere.

example of a toolbarImagine you have been given a new piece of software that you have never used before and want to save a file, you immediately move your mouse to the top left of the menu bar and look for a File command. You look there because that’s where it is in most pieces of software you have ever used. If someone produced some software where the file menu was in the bottom right corner it would be very confusing to use. Websites are similar and certain aspects should be considered carefully.

Keep things in the same place on each page - the main navigation should go along the top of the page, or on the side at the top. The most important information on the site (or the most recent) should also be listed near the top.

Hyperlinks should use meaningful labels so it is clear where the link will take someone.

Avoid using icons as navigation without making it clear what the icon means – make sure there is a text label too. It can be frustrating to have to mouseover a whole line of icons just to find the one that takes you to the page you wish.

Two websites that are very useful when considering website usability are:
http://www.webcredible.co.uk/  and http://www.useit.com/alertbox/

 

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